Lithium-Ion Battery Chemistries - A Must-Have Alternative for Electric Vehicles

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Lithium-Ion Battery Chemistries - A Must-Have Alternative for Electric Vehicles

Lithium-Ion Battery Chemistries - A Must-Have Alternative for Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are steadily gaining popularity across the globe – it is increasingly seen as the ‘way forward’ as even as the automotive industry focusses on offering cleaner mobility solutions. Of course, there is no denying the fact that multiple benefits of such vehicles will prove to be an attractive proposition for consumers. EVs offer a lower total cost of ownership over conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles – further, it reduces carbon emissions as well as pollution besides being noise-free.

Batteries represent a critical part of electric vehicles and any talk of electric vehicle battery technology brings lithium-ion batteries to the fore. Lithium-ion batteries are considered the most popular battery technology and why? It is because such batteries offer substantial energy density within a smaller space and more importantly, offer lower weight as well as longer life and this explains why they have emerged as a battery mainstay for EVs since they first arrive in the market in the early nineties. Lithium-ion batteries are not just deployed in EVs but across a wider spectrum of industries – such batteries are deployed in smartphones, laptops, tablets, grid energy storage among others. In the Indian context, lithium-ion batteries are head and shoulders over lead-acid batteries owing to the strong differentiators they bring to the table – as we are aware lead-acid batteries offer lower energy density and have a shorter life among other teething issues – something we are accustomed to seeing in our country’s rickety e-richshaws. According to various industry projections, more than 125 million electric vehicles will hit the roads across the globe by 2030 – this only underpins the significant role lithium-ion batteries will play in the automotive industry’s steadfast transition towards EVs.

It is pertinent to mention that lithium-ion batteries have evolved over a period of time and have embraced newer chemistries for different applications and increased performance. If industry experts are to be believed the dominance of lithium-ion chemistry will continue in the energy storage space for EVs in the coming years, given the variety of chemistries it offer for electric vehicle batteries. There are currently three lithium-ion batteries chemistries - Nickel Magnesium Cobalt (NMC), Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) that can be leveraged for EVs. According to industry experts, vehicle segments such as electric two-wheelers, electric three-wheelers and small electric four-wheelers are more likely to opt for Nickel Magnesium Cobalt – this chemistry will work well for these vehicle segments wherein volume and battery pack mass can be important constraints.

It is believed that bigger vehicles such as eMCVs & eHCVs will opt for Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) chemistry – LFP offer higher safer capabilities - a critical requirement for large commercial vehicles since they need a large number of cells for their day-today operations that can invite higher safety and reliability risks.

There is also a line of thought that Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) battery chemistry will witness tardy adoption owing to its higher price, but it can be deployed in niche applications such as mining, defense vehicles, etc – such vehicles necessitate high power demand that can be easily supported by extremely high discharge rates of Lithium Titanate Oxide cells.

Clearly, the lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles will keep evolving over the years. One will not be surprised if newer lithium batteries chemistries emerge going forward and meet the needs of the EV industry that is poised to grow in scale in the coming years.